Saturday, October 21, 2006


We in Philly have for some time had to deal with the national joke that is the Liberty Bell/Independence Hall security situation. After 9/11 it was harder to get in there than to board an airplane, and hideously ugly and tragically ironic security barriers were put up everywhere. Independence Hall indeed.

It's slowly improved since, with the road in front of the building reopened and a slight improvement in the cosmetics of the security barriers. Now it sounds like the situation will improve a bit more.

To the delight of activist Ann Meredith, who led the fight to free Independence Mall from proposed six-foot security fencing, National Park Service Director Mary Bomar announced yesterday that the national shrine would remain fenceless.

Bookended by smiling U.S. senators Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum, both R-Pa., Bomar said the Park Service had decided to "eliminate" the proposed fence and to remove the bicycle barriers outside the Liberty Bell Center.

"This is a great day for freedom," Specter said, adding, "Today, we have told the would-be terrorists, we're not going to pay any attention to them" when it comes to limiting public access to Independence Mall.

"There oughtn't to be a fence," Specter said. "People ought to have access."

Still, I wish someone would answer a very simple question - why the hell do people need to go through a metal detector to enter the building? It's ridiculous.